Do you believe in second chances?
Western Vinyl, 2012
7.5 / 10.0
Trevor Montgomery led a dangerous youth, experimenting with meth and psychedelics in his teenage years. He explored such actions in his previous album, The Trickster, that he released under the moniker Lazarus. On Navigated Like The Swan, Montgomery returns sounding wiser for the wear as Young Moon with the album unfolding as a sobering glimpse of a man finding love and seeking redemption for his reckless past. Partly inspired by John Hughes films, Navigated Like The Swan only brings to mind the classic filmmaker’s movies in the instrumental opener, “The Crystal Text”. Everything that follows feels more mature than the characters from a Hughes’ film. It’s probably because those characters always had a sense of optimism despite not suffering actual pain or hardship to make them believe in anything other than a happy ending. Young Moon is a different story.
On Navigated Like The Swan, love doesn’t come easy. “I was halfway to you / I got lost on the way”, sings Montgomery on “A Reason”. Throughout the album Montgomery pays tribute to an unnamed savior that gave him a reason to escape from his tragic former life. Montgomery’s baritone recalls both Nick Cave (distinctly on “Painting of Waves”) and Leonard Cohen and his tortured voice emphasizes the album’s integumentary pain. On “Walk in White”, Montgomery sings, “The night we met / I was sheltered in regrets / But you broke through / Like stone breaks through glass”. Clearly Montgomery feels indebted to someone.
Navigated Like The Swan‘s arrangements consist of guitar, synthesizers, and drum machines, and Montgomery uses them to instill both an overwhelming sadness and hopeful assurance. The album uses a few instrumental songs as transitional pieces with “Northern Earth” being one of the more amazing vocal-free songs I’ve heard this year, featuring piercing guitar chords and drop dead gorgeous synthesizers that will cut through your soul like a razor. Just as impressive is “Ages of Youth”, a Hans Zimmer-like composition that is cinematic and epic in its compact length.
Montgomery’s debut as Young Moon shows a new side of the musician. No longer a trickster, Montgomery’s Navigated Like The Swan is a strong effort executed with focused clarity. Though the album can come off as a bit too melodramatic and repetitive, Montgomery has made a mature and welcomed leap under his new persona as Young Moon.
Purchase: Young Moon – Navigated Like the Swan
Download: Young Moon – “Winds Light”